- There's a "strange silence" coming from the Padres and Rays regarding the reported Jason Bartlett trade, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Looks like a brotherly catching tandem won't happen in St. Louis, as Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch tweets that the Cardinals are not optimistic about signing Bengie Molina and are ready to move on.
- Bill Hall's agent told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart he's had "some conversations with Houston, but nothing substantial at this point" (Twitter link). Hall has a chance to be the Dodgers' primary left fielder, if their discussions are fruitful.
- The team did not offer Carlos Pena or Paul Konerko contracts before the first basemen signed in Chicago, according to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.
- It's likely that the team's shortstop will be Hardy, Jason Bartlett, Brendan Ryan or Cesar Izturis, MacPhail said. The Padres appear to be close to a deal for Bartlett, which would limit the Orioles' options.
- MacPhail says the club has expressed interest in a number of DH types. Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui and Jim Thome are believed to be among the team's targets.
- The team, which selects fourth in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, is considering a number of players.
- There are no updates on Kevin Gregg, but Zrebiec reported yesterday that the team has offered the former Blue Jays closer a two-year deal.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears (on Twitter) that Nick Green could end up in Baltimore.
The Rays will definitely trade Jason Bartlett, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who suggests a deal could go down tonight (Twitter links). The Orioles aren't involved, so it's down to the Padres and Pirates. We'll keep track of all the rumors right here:
- Bartlett is likely going to San Diego, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter).
- The Padres and Rays are discussing a deal that would send pitchers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos to Tampa Bay for Bartlett, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune.
- The Rays are asking the Pirates for Joel Hanrahan, according to Rob Biertempfel (on Twitter).
- It appears that Bartlett wants to sign an extension if traded, according to Sherman.
5:13pm: The Orioles are moving on to other targets, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). Those alternatives include trade candidates Brendan Ryan, J.J. Hardy and free agent Orlando Cabrera.
4:48pm: Reimold is off the table, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). He isn't going to Tampa and he's probably staying put.
4:13pm: The trade is "not happening," a source tells ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter).
3:37pm: There will be no deal today, according to Ghiroli (on Twitter). The sides are close, but a trade now seems less likely than it did earlier.
1:26pm: The Rays are talking with the Orioles about Bartlett, and it's for more than Reimold, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
11:49am: A possible deal sending Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Orioles for outfielder/first baseman Nolan Reimold is heating up, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. He has one source who expects the trade to happen today.
The Rays are one of few teams with a shortstop surplus, and Bartlett may earn over $5MM in his last year before free agency. Reimold had a strong rookie season for Baltimore in '09 but had a lost 2010.
We know that St. Louis GM John Mozeliak met with the agent for Albert Pujols today in regards to a possible extension, but as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch informs us, their immediate to-do list is far shorter.
Following the club's acquisition of Lance Berkman, the Cardinals are now focused on exploring trade interest for defensive whiz Brendan Ryan and securing a backup catcher. The $8MM allocated to Berkman, as well as the same figure that was allocated to Jake Westbrook and the acquisition of Ryan Theriot have left the redbirds with little financial flexibility.
Mozeliak adamantly denied rumors of continued interest in Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Bartlett, stating two reasons:
"One is, we've already made a trade for a player," he began. "And Number 2 is, after we did the Berkman deal, (finances) are something we have to become aware of, too. We're pretty comfortable now with what we've done in the middle infield."
Strauss says the Cardinals would want a pitching prospect or fringe major leaguer in return for Ryan's services. Mozeliak made his intentions clear when he prioritized their plans for Ryan in order: trade him for immediate help, trade him for depth, or retain him as a backup.
Ryan's bat doesn't bring much to the table — he hit just .239/.279/.294 last season — but his reputation as a defensive sensation is well-deserved. His UZR has increased in each of the past three seasons, and his cumulative UZR/150 at shortstop over that time is 11.4, second only to Jack Wilson (among players with 1500 innings or more). He's capable of swiping a base (25 SB over the past two seasons, career 75% success rate) and is arbitration-eligible for the first time, meaning he won't see a significant salary in 2011.
The Cardinals filled their backup catcher role with Jason LaRue from 2008-2010, but LaRue retired this season after suffering an injury in a team brawl with the Reds. Earlier today, they were linked to Gregg Zaun, who missed most of 2010 with an injury of his own. However at age 39 and coming off that injury, he should fit into the club's pay range.
As it stands, St. Louis is projected to have approximately a $106MM payroll, which includes a small allocation for a backup catcher in the mold of Zaun. Other options in that price range could include (my own speculation) Josh Bard, Gerald Laird, and Henry Blanco.
The latest on the Rays, who are looking to re-build their bullpen and acquire a hitter or two:
- The Rays have progressed toward a deal with J.P. Howell, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). The team non-tendered the lefty last week.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Dan Johnson and agreed on a 2011 salary of about $1MM, according to Topkin (Twitter links).
- The Rays and O's were discussing a trade that would have sent Jason Bartlett to Baltimore for a package similar to the one the Orioles sent to Arizona for Mark Reynolds, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (Twitter link).
- Cardinals GM Joh Mozeliak told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's not looking to acquire middle infielders, so a Barlett trade seems highly unlikely.
- Rays President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Topkin that he wouldn't be surprised if he ends up making a trade or two this week (Twitter link).
In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Jayson Stark discusses the ripple effect that Jayson Werth's $126MM deal will have on the remaining free agents. One AL official opines that it raises Carl Crawford's price in a "big, big way": "He's looking at maybe eight years, $180 million now, maybe 10 years, $190 million." Here are the rest of Stark's hot stove notes:
- Crawford is the clear top target for the Angels, but in the past they've tried to avoid going as high as eight years for any player, let alone ten.
- Despite getting Werth's contract done already, Scott Boras often drags out negotiations for his top clients. Stark polled a dozen people across baseball on when Adrian Beltre would sign, and many predicted it wouldn't happen until Christmas or later.
- Neither the Yankees or Rangers have made a formal offer to Cliff Lee yet, but many of those baseball people polled by Stark expect a deal to get done within the next week.
- There's good news and bad news for the Royals and Zack Greinke's trade value: with many free agent arms coming off the board already, Greinke has become more valuable in a pitching-thin market. However, according to one AL source, "Greinke has been trying to convince the Royals that it's not a great idea if he's there next year," which reduces Kansas City's leverage.
- The Diamondbacks haven't totally ruled out trading Justin Upton, though it appears unlikely. Kevin Towers tells Stark "it's going to take somebody a little on the crazy side" to get anything done.
- There's a sense that Jason Bartlett is the player most likely to be traded this week. However, Stark has trouble finding a team in need of a shortstop that matches up well with the Rays, who would like a late-inning reliever in return.
- With Werth off the market, the Phillies will look to replace him with a complementary player rather than a big name. Stark lists Scott Hairston, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Diaz as a few possible targets. Philadelphia has also been trying to find a taker for Raul Ibanez, but would likely have to eat a good chunk of salary to do so.
Ron Santo, the longtime Cubs star and broadcaster, died overnight. Condolences to his family, friends and many fans. Here are today's links…
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick profiles Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who expects to be a players' manager, partly because his experience as a player allows him to relate to those who are struggling to produce.
- The Orioles offered Adam Dunn a four-year deal worth about $40MM before he agreed to sign with the White Sox, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
- The Pirates have had "ongoing discussions with multiple free-agent starters, and would be pleased to sign more than one starting pitcher to compete for a spot in the rotation," president Frank Coonelly told fans in a chat on MLB.com. The team made Jorge de la Rosa an offer and is also open to upgrading in right field, at first base or at short.
- The market for Kevin Correia is heating up, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The right-hander is in "active negotiations" with two or more teams.
- Ryan Zimmerman tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he wouldn't mind signing a Troy Tulowitzki-like extension (Twitter link).
- "It's no secret we want Cliff [Lee], and we will do what we can to get him," Hank Steinbrenner told ESPN.com. Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker insists he never said he's looking to match C.C. Sabathia's $161MM deal.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock suggests Brendan Ryan might be a better trade target for the Padres than Jason Bartlett (Twitter link).
The Pirates would like to upgrade at shortstop and are interested in Jason Bartlett and J.J. Hardy, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Pirates would like to upgrade over Ronny Cedeno before the 2011 season starts and Hardy and Bartlett appear to be available.
Cedeno, 27, batted .256/.293/.382 in 502 plate appearances last year. He has never shown much power in six big league seasons and has a .284 OBP in his career. Though he doesn't provide much offense, few shortstops do. Bartlett posted an identical .675 OPS last year and that was better than the marks Orlando Cabrera, Yunel Escobar, Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar and Cesar Izturis posted.
10:55pm: The Giants are not in on Bartlett, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).
10:00pm: The Giants and Cardinals both added infielders today, but haven't completely ruled out acquiring Bartlett, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Bartlett, a long shot for the Giants, would be insurance in case Pablo Sandoval's struggles continue.
5:00pm: The Giants are "wide open" on their options at short, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). They've considered Bartlett, Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera and Marco Scutaro. Meanwhile, an Orioles source tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that the Rays and O's aren't moving closer to a deal involving Bartlett.
TUESDAY, 3:45pm: The Giants have become one of the most serious suitors for Bartlett, according to Rosenthal and Morosi.
MONDAY, 5:40pm: The Rays are moving closer to trading Jason Bartlett, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The reporters’ sources say the Dodgers’ deal with Juan Uribe accelerated trade talks. The Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Orioles and Pirates have all expressed interest in Bartlett, who is arbitration eligible for the third and final time this offseason.
The Rays appear to be looking for bullpen help in any trade involving Bartlett. If they do trade the 31-year-old, they’ll likely replace him with Reid Brignac, who played 50 games at short in 2010 and posted a higher OPS than Bartlett (.692 vs. .675).
Bartlett slumped to .254/.324/.350 in 2010 after an All-Star season in 2009, but his career line (.281/.345/.385) suggests he's capable of more offense. He earned $4MM in 2010 and will likely earn over $5MM through arbitration in 2011.